Honorable Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Prime minister of Pakistan,
It’s Winter, and it’s the time for the arrival of Migratory Birds from Europe, Central Asia and Siberia to the wetlands of Pakistan. Several endangered migratory birds including Siberian cranes and bustards are being hunted indiscriminately. Both species of the migratory birds flying into Pakistan from Siberia during the winter months are listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) with 14,000 other endangered species in Pakistan including birds, other animals and plants.
The locals have been found shooting at flocks of Siberian cranes flying overhead during winter with their AK-47 machine guns just for leisure and on the other hand members of royal families from the Middle East, particularly those in Saudi Arabia, are often given licenses to hunt endangered migratory birds, such as bustards, despite the stringent restrictions. International laws are been violated. These birds are of much Ecological importance as they prey on insects and weeds and thus contributing towards the betterment of Agriculture and Environment. In an era of unstable climate change the environmental disaster is elevated by the mass killing of such birds.
I request your honor to kindly take strict actions against hunting of Migratory Birds in Pakistan and impose a complete ban on hunting of these Birds. I, hope that this request will get your kind consideration and mercy towards your “Guests” the beautiful and innocent Migratory Birds.
Khalid Mahmood Qurashi,
President, Animal Save Movement Pakistan
H # 1094 / 2 Hussain Agahi Multan , Pakistan
Photo: Photographer: BS Thurner Hof / Wikimedia commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / A Siberian Crane; this one is in captivity in a zoo.
To view the Facebook page of Animal Save Movement Pakistan, click here. (Caution: graphic photos)
Our disaster response team is still hard at work conducting emergency rescue and relief efforts for the animals and people affected by cyclone Phailin and the flooding. The havoc didn’t end with the flooding, but another disaster in the form of incessant heavy rain due to low pressure across the Odisha coast since October 22, 2013 has brought flash floods to severely affected coastal districts. This has also hampered recovery and rescue efforts.
We are providing emergency food, water, medical treatment and, just as important, compassionate care to cyclone victim dogs, cats, goats, sheep, donkeys, and cattle. We are working in the worst affected areas of the Ganjam and Kendrapara districts of Odisha state.
October 24, 2013
We traveled to Kalyanipur village in the Kainchapur panchayat of the Ganjam district, one of the areas hardest hit by cyclone Phailin. Over a hundred homes were leveled. The scene, even more than one week after the cyclone, is truly catastrophic.
At Kalyanipur village, Bichi, Mantu, Sukumar and Bijaya pitched in to help with feeding stray dogs, cats and bulls. The animals were very happy to eat. They fed 86 animals in this village. Subhajyoti, Magta, Nimain, and Fakira assisted Dr. Behera and Dr. Piyush, who is a vet with HSI – Asia (Humane Society International), in treating affected animals. By the end of the day, they had treated 91 animals.
October 25, 2013
The APOWA disaster rescue team is continuing to bring food and treatment to affected animals. Our team, which includes two veterinarians and several volunteers, has been working continuously in the affected areas, supporting relief efforts and providing treatment and emergency feeding. Today, we visited Sanakainchapur of Kainchapur panchayat in the Ganjam district. 76 animals were given food and medical care in this village.
October 26, 2013
Today, our team visited Jagannathpur village of Kainchapur panchayat of the Ganjam district to respond to an urgent plea for help. Our rescue team worked long and hard, and were able to provide relief to 133 animals. They were also given a vitamin supplement. The team immediately got to work mixing vitamins and nutritional supplements into the food for the cattle. The team were helped by community volunteers from the village. This was truly an amazing community of animal lovers!
October 27, 2013
Our disaster response team has been working for the last two weeks to provide relief and rescue to the surviving animals. Today, we visited Borigaon village in the Humma panchayat of the Ganjam district. There we worked with our dear friend, Mr. Rabindra Sahu, and volunteers from the Rushikullay Sea Turtle Protection Committee, Ganjam. Our team treated 92 animals for various ailments, like fevers, coughs, and injuries caused by the cyclone and floods.
October 28, 2013
It was another long working day for APOWA’S disaster rescue team in Satrusoul village in the Subalaya panchayat of the Ganjam district. Our team reached 208 cyclone victim animals providing food and medical treatment. This was a tiring day especially for the drivers Subhajyoti and Mantu who had to drive ten hours straight. The drivers’ dedication to APOWA’s mission and to the animals cannot go unmentioned. Nonstop work, loading, walking, and handling animals illustrate what teamwork and love for animals really means.
This disaster makes everything worse for animals that are already hungry and scared; they search for food. It is estimated that thousands of animals, mostly dogs, cats, and cattle were impacted by the cyclone and flood. Many were injured, sick, weak, and suffering from malnutrition. The unspeakable misery of animals cannot be described in words. APOWA has a long history of responding to natural disasters, which happen in Odisha regularly. “We were one of the few animal welfare organizations on the ground in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin,” says Dr. Laxman Behera, veterinarian, who is leading our disaster response team. “Not only have we been rescuing hundreds of animals, but we gave them the food and medical care they needed.”
We are grateful to over 20 volunteers who devote their time and love to help us in our mission to rescue, nurture and provide emergency feeding to cyclone and flood victim animals in Odisha. Mr. Bichitra Biswal, who traveled from the Puri district, is part of a dedicated group of core volunteers who have been helping us since the beginning of the cyclone. We are also mobilizing village volunteers who come forward to help in our relief efforts for animals in their village. They are a terrific group of volunteers and we thank them for all of their hard work and support! It is a great feeling to know that we are making a difference for animals. It has always been and will continue to be all about the animals.
In this precarious situation we would request to all to extend your kind support to continue our life- saving work in areas hit hard by the cyclone and floods.
Cyclone Phailin took a profound toll on the colony of Asian open billed storks living in a coastal wetlands on the Bay of Bengal, in Andhra Pradesh. The VSPCA (Visakha Society for Prevention and Care of Animals) has protected and cared for these wild storks for a number of years, working with village people to protect their habitat and prevent poaching.
The storks migrate to Telekunchi in Icchapuram, at the northern tip of Andhra Pradesh, in the Srikakulam District.
Pradeep Nath, Founder and CEO of VSPCA, writes that the birds “have met with a disastrous situation due to the super cyclone ‘Phailin’ that ripped through north Andhra Pradesh and Orissa in the early hours of October 12.
“Some 4,000 storks perished that night. Another 2,000 were left grounded with trauma, fright, separated from their families and abandoned, terribly wet and unable to move and feed by themselves.”
Quite a number were injured and “around 33 were just chicks who required hand feeding.”
The day after the cyclone hit, a VSPCA team was out combing the beach looking for injured animals, moving north from the town of Srikakulam towards Palasa, when they began to get calls about the storks in distress.
They immediately left the beach and traveled to Icchapuram to aid the birds.
Arriving on the site, the VSPCA team began rescuing hundreds of birds, providing emergency treatment and medical care.
For weeks, they worked to save the lives of the birds, setting up a hospital in a darkened school building, with open doors and windows, in conditions that could not be kept sanitary. Outside there were fallen trees and electric poles. The power was always out.”
In these far from ideal conditions, the VSPCA team did a heroic job, despite not having much in the way of good food, or a proper place to stay, or a chance to catch up on sleep.
Pradeep Nath explains “We focused on keeping the birds warm, cleaning them, providing vitamins, and supportive care. Soon, around 1,650 birds were strong enough to fly up into the trees.
“Seeing them active and able to fly gave us a huge sense of relief.”
Progress made despite difficulties
Over the next few days, there was quite a lot of flooding, but they were still able to make progress in getting the remaining birds back on their feet.
“Some of the birds were injured, and there were very critical cases too, requiring special treatments. Following our appeal, teams from Wildlife Trust of India, Wildlife SOS, and PFA – Bangalore came to help out. Saleem Hameed, an experienced wildlife rehabilitator, sent by PFA – Bangalore, stayed and worked with us for an entire week.
“The WTI sent a second vet a few days later, after we again appealed for help because of renewed flooding, including in the wetlands where the bird colony lives.
“The 350 birds that had remained in the school for special attention were treated, and later on, having recovered well, many were released.
“Quite a few walked out of the building, which did not have doors and windows, on their own, as soon as they felt better.
“Sadly, some had died from infections or from severe injuries.
“After a week, we had less than 46 still in our care and under close watch.”
Heavy rains bring a turn for the worse
Unfortunately, all did not continue to go well, and on October 19, there was a disastrous turn in the weather.Heavy, pounding rains came in from the coast. The rain did not stop falling and inundated the entire state, especially the coastal areas.
The weather was so bad that roads became impassable, and the team, who were staying nearby in Icchapuram, had trouble reaching the birds to give them food and medicine.
On top of that, because birds, when subjected to extreme stress and bad weather, lose their water proofing, which causes them to become cold and ill — many of the storks could not withstand the heavy rains. Many had to be recaptured, dried, and warmed up. Keeping them warm and finding adequate supplies of food for them was a struggle.
The skies clear
Eventually, the rains dissipated. Fortunately, in the end, they were left with only one bird that could not be released. This bird will either be placed with the Forest Department or will have a home at the VSPCA Kindness Farm.
Sadly, some of the recaptured storks died. All the others have been rereleased, are gaining strength day by day, and bit by bit are making their way up into the trees.
The VSPCA team has stayed with the birds throughout all the flooding and the many challenges, doing everything possible to care for them, and they continue to provide food for those still on the ground.
Pradeep Nath writes, “Our team will continue to stay until 100% of the work for the safety of the birds has been done. We have identified one elderly person who will represent us and inform us of any problems. Our team will continue to help the birds on the ground until they fly up to the trees and then onwards. And our team will encourage local authorities to inform people using vehicles to go slowly in these areas because there are many birds still on the ground.
“At the moment, our work for the Asian open billed stork is almost done. We will be there only another week or ten days.
“It is so heartening to see them flying higher and higher in the skies.”
Thanks to VSPCA for their steadfast help for these magnificent birds caught in such a perilous situation.
If you’d like to help with a donation, via Help Animals India, click here.
APOWA has been providing relief to animals in cyclone- and flood-affected villages of Odisha, India. Phailin left a trail of destruction. According to the report of the Animal Resource Development Department, Government of Odisha, over seven million animals were adversely affected.
The cyclone, attaining a windspeed of 220 kilometers per hour (136 miles per hour) killed 1,500 large animals, 3,000 small animals and 600,000 birds.
Recent heavy rains, due to another low pressure system that formed over the Bay of Bengal on the Odisha coast, have worsened the suffering of Phailin victims. A continuous downpour has made life precarious and painful in the affected areas.
Since the cyclone struck, APOWA’s disaster response team has been conducting rescue and relief work on the basis of a war footing. We’ve been helped by five animal caretakers who feed neighborhood dogs and an honorary animal welfare officer, certified by the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Our Kindness vehicle has been traveling from village to village in the affected areas, offering much-needed assistance and providing vital resources to the animals in distress. Our team of one veterinarian, three paravets (vet techs), and 14 volunteers has been on the go tirelessly, treating animals and providing emergency feeding.
October 19, 2013
Our team spent a whole day at Singhagaon village, where a great many animals – neighborhood dogs, stray bulls, cats, and buffaloes were suffering from injury, hunger, dehydration, fever, and coughs. Some kind volunteers from the community joined our team and pitched in, helping to feed the dogs, cats, and cows. Our team provided treatment and feeding to 68 animals in the village.
October 20, 2013
It’s been a full week since we started providing relief to the surviving animals of the cyclone and flooding. Today, we rushed to Bishnupur village, where we treated and gave food to 54 animals.
October 21, 2013
Today our team treated and fed 71 animals at Berhampur village of Pattamundai block.
October 22, 2013
A team from Humane Society International (HSI) Asia headed by Soham Mukherjee and two veterinarians joined our team at Kantiagarh and Laxmipur village of Ganjam District. There 133 animals were treated and emergency feeding provided.
October 23, 2013
We continue our lifesaving work for animals and our rescue and relief efforts. Our team moved to Kusumi village of Aul block, which had been cut off, entirely surrounded by rivers and severely affected by both the cyclone and the floods. There 83 animals were treated and 52 animals were given food.
Our priority in this disaster is to aid homeless, stray animals who need emergency vet care and food. At the same time, we are continuing our regular work helping other animals.
Without proper electricity and no drinking water, food procurement is a big problem faced by our team. Despite the difficulty, we’re doing everything possible to get food and treatment to the animals. Because of our love for the animals, we will continue to stay here, working on their behalf until the situation improves.
We are grateful to all of our supporters, well-wishers, and to the district administration for their timely cooperation in our work for the animals in the aftermath of cyclone Phailin.
In the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, hard-hit by the strong winds of cyclone Phaillin, the VSPCA (Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals) has been rescuing wild storks.
Around 2,000 Asian openbill storks were found on the ground, having fallen from their nests during the violent storm. Some had died, but many could be rescued, and the VSPCA team was hard at work picking them up, examining them for injuries, treating them, and feeding them.
The VSPCA has helped the storks of this colony for several years, educating the people in how to care for them and keep them safe from poachers. Many of the storks, especially the adults, survived and were still safe in the trees. But it was sad to see so many who had fallen. Their breeding season is from July to September, and it was many of the young ones, who were nearly ready to fledge, who had been blown out of their nests.
Thanks to the speedy efforts of VSPCA, many of the young storks are being saved and will be releasable—and should be just fine, despite their ordeal with the wind and the rain.